1996 All-Baltimore City/County softball team

June 05, 1996|By KEVIN ECK

Co-Player of the Year

Kara Wingate, Franklin, junior, pitcher: Wingate's all-around play led the Indians to their first appearance in the Class 3A state championship game and their first trip to the state semifinals since 1981. She went 15-4 with a 0.68 ERA and allowed 61 hits in 123 innings with 24 walks and 176 strikeouts. Wingate threw four consecutive shutouts in the playoffs -- including three straight two-hitters and two 1-0 victories -- before succumbing to McDonough of Charles County in the final. She was a hard thrower, but Wingate also frustrated hitters with her off-speed pitches. The biggest improvement in her pitching was her control -- she had less than half as many walks as last year. Wingate, a second-team selection last season, also fielded her position extremely well, committing just one error in 39 chances with 29 assists and nine putouts. Moreover, she led Franklin in hitting (.415) and runs (17) and was second in RBIs (13). Her clutch RBI double in the bottom of the sixth against Thomas Johnson in the state semifinals broke a scoreless tie and gave the Indians a 1-0 win.

Co-Player of the Year

Nikki Winik, Owings Mills, senior, catcher: Winik could take control of a game like few other players in the area. She did so not only with her physical skills, but also her softball savvy, competitiveness and leadership, all of which helped Owings Mills win the highly competitive Baltimore County Division I title. Winik rarely made a mental mistake and several coaches attribute at least part of ace Alison Kleiner's success to Winik's handling of the junior pitcher. Winik was an outstanding defensive catcher whose strong arm deterred most teams from even thinking about stealing. She threw out 12 of 16 attempted base stealers and picked off several others. Offensively, Winik led the team in runs (28), on-base percentage (.507), stolen bases (28 in 28 attempts), extra-base hits (six) and triples (two). She was the co-leader in home runs (two) and walks (15) and batted .360 with a .600 slugging percentage. Winik, a second-team selection last season, will play softball next season at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Coach of the Year

Pete Waskiewicz, Mount de Sales: In just his second year at Mount de Sales, Waskiewicz turned around a floundering program and transformed perennial losers into contenders in the Catholic League. After an 0-17 finish in his first season -- which extended the team's losing streak to 30 -- Waskiewicz guided Mount de Sales to a 15-9 record and a tie for second place in the league. The Sailors nearly reached the league championship game, falling to the Institute of Notre Dame, 6-5, in eight innings in the semifinals. Upon taking over, Waskiewicz stressed the fundamentals and instilled a winning attitude in players that were used to losing. The Sailors didn't win last season, but they were made strides, gradually attaining their goal of consistently playing seven-inning contests (games are called after five innings if a team is ahead by 10 or more runs). Thirteen players returned from last year eager to start winning some games, and with the addition of three talented freshman, that's exactly what the Sailors did.

The first team

Jen Creager, IND, junior, infielder: Creager did an adequate job wherever coach Sandy Altadonna needed her, whether it was first base, third base, shortstop or catcher. Her best work, however, was done at the plate. Creager led the Indians in slugging percentage (.573), doubles (nine), triples (two) and RBIs (24) and batted .400. Her 30 hits were one shy of the school record. Usually playing at first or third base, Creager had a .942 fielding percentage.

Tara Dolly, Eastern Tech, senior, outfielder: er: After three years as an infielder, Dolly moved to center field to fill the void left by the graduation of All-Baltimore City/County selection Brandi Anselmi. She made the transition a smooth one. A proven hitter, Dolly also exhibited above-average defensive skills, committing just one error. She led the Mavericks in on-base percentage (.588) and batted .377 with 12 RBIs. Dolly, headed to Essex Community College, also stole 16 bases and was the team's best bunter.

Alison Kleiner, Owings Mills, junior, pitcher: er: Not only was it difficult to score a run off Kleiner, it was a major accomplishment just to get a hit. Kleiner, a two-time first-team selection, allowed just 53 hits in 116 innings (3.1 per game) and tossed three consecutive no-hitters at one point. She went 15-2 with a 0.54 ERA and 131 strikeouts. Kleiner, a hard thrower with excellent control, yielded just 32 walks and four wild pitches. Her career record is 46-8 with four no-hitters.

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